Approximately 30 Brownwood area athletes expected to compete

The Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Region 8 Track and Field Meet returns to Gordon Wood Stadium this Saturday, and youngsters from ages 8 through 18 will attempt to earn berths to the TAAF Games of Texas in McAllen July 27-30.

Approximately 150 athletes have registered thus far to compete in the regional meet according to Kim Harvey, who along with her husband, Bryan, are running the Flyin’ Lions Summer Camp program this summer after the departure of former Brownwood High track and field head coach Don Hood.

“We’re trying to continue what Coach Hood started, and we’re going to have 30 Brownwood area kids in the meet,” Kim Harvey said. This will be the second meet the Flyin’ Lions have competed in this summer, following a practice meet in San Angelo.

“We tried to host our own meet but it got rained out,” Kim said. “There was another meet in Stamford that we’ve competed at in the past, but we found out at the last minute so we weren’t able to go.”

Brownwood High School track standouts who have signed up to compete include Kyra Young, A.J. McCarty and Alyssa Couey — who all took part in the UIL state championships in May — while Alyssa Preston will test her mettle in the discus and shot put.

The meet will feature all the traditional events of a high school event with the exception of the pole vault. Those TAAF members from the region who wish to compete in the pole vault will be able to do so at the state competition.

To take part in the regional meet, one must be a TAAF member and pay a $7 fee per event.

“Once they get an ID number, they can participate in up to four events,” Kim said. “To qualify for state they have to finish in the top three, and there are no alternates.”

Action begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with field events, and the running events are expected to begin at 10 a.m. Age divisions include 8 and under, 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under and 18 and under for both boys and girls. The admission fee is $3.

Bryan Harvey is serving as the meet coordinator. Wichita Falls’ turn to host in a rotation that also includes Abilene fell this summer, but inadequate facilities resulted in the meet returning to Gordon Wood Stadium. Next year, Abilene Christian University’s new track stadium will be the host venue.

“We’ve been a part of this for six years, but Coach Hood dealt with most of it and had his workers,” Bryan said. “With us taking the meet over and running the summer program now, it was a scramble to make sure everything was taken care. If it wasn’t for a lot of gracious volunteers, there’s no way we could run it.

“Roland Soto with the city has been a big help, along with David Withers, who handles all the paperwork and gets kids registered. Once that’s done, he sends it to Sean Fitzgerald who does all the computer work and gets everyone in heats. He’s been gracious enough to let us use his timing system with the camera. We lost a very valuable asset when Coach Hood left, we’re just trying to carry on a legacy the best we can and rock and roll with it.”